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Key considerations when choosing the right cloud platform for your business


Choosing the right cloud provider entails considering a variety of security risks as well as asking a host of questions that will help you determine what’s right for your business. A solid analytical framework is foundational to this process.

The increase in the externalization of IT systems is forcing businesses to reevaluate their priorities to ensure long-standing success. Unfortunately, there is no standard trajectory for assessing cloud service providers and naturally, no two are identical. There are a few market giants to choose from such as, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), but there are also niche companies that specialize in certain services. With so many options which all differ from each other in one way or another it can be quite daunting to find the right one. The goal should be to find a CSP that will take care of the cloud and let you focus your time and energy on applications and data.

The first thing that comes to mind is CSP certifications and standards. Providers that comply with recognised standards and quality frameworks demonstrate an adherence to industry best practices and standards. While standards may not determine which service provider you choose, they can be very helpful in shortlisting potential suppliers.

Also, the CSP should have SAP certified solutions like certified hosting capabilities for SAP HANA and Non-HANA workloads. So, look at your current SAP architecture and see to it that supporting hosting is available in the selected region of the CSP.

Second thing that comes to mind is the cost. Each cloud service provider has a unique bundle of services and pricing models. Different providers have unique price advantages for different products. Typically, pricing variables are based on the period of usage with some providers allowing for by the minute usage as well as discounts for longer commitments. It is a good idea to assess your usage patterns to decide which model fits your timeline, budget, and business model. Data in transit also play major role when calculating the cost.

Another key factor we should consider is reliability and performance. First, check the performance of the service provider against their SLAs for the last 6-12 months.  Some service providers publish this information, but others should supply it if asked. Ensure your chosen provider has established, documented and proven processes for dealing with planned and unplanned downtime.  If you are implementing DR, then look to understand the provider’s disaster recovery provisions, processes, and their ability to support your data preservation.

Cost should not be your only priority, however. Data-security is the most critical factor when choosing the right CSP.

Understanding each CSP’s protection practices will be important to assess the CSP’s maturity of security processes. It is important to note that a cloud provider’s encryption capabilities should meet the level of sensitivity of your data. There are two cloud encryption options – data-at-rest and data-in-transit – and sometimes it is wise to use a combination of both. By examining your data operations and applications you can determine what kind of cloud encryption solution is necessary – some key questions to consider are:

  • Does your data contain sensitive intellectual property?
  • Is the data essential to the organization’s operations?
  • Does the data fall under certain requirements such as privacy acts (GDPR), financial data (PCI, SOX) and health records (HIPAA)?

Cloud compliance is also a key factor to bear in mind. The specific architecture platform you choose will help you meet your unique compliance standards. Being aware of your responsibilities on top of the compliance standards the provider will help you maintain presented in a clear service level agreement (SLA) between you and the provider, is crucial, to avoid any pitfalls along the way.

Realizing business benefits via SAP 2 Cloud migration is my key area. Organizations need to understand how the quick migration of their SAP landscape to a specific cloud platform will help them realize business benefits. Migration support is fundamental to ensure a smooth transition and with all the components in the right place having chosen the right CSP and migration service acting as a firm backbone, you can relax and focus on manifesting your desired business outcomes.

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Devendra Goyal
Head – Global SAP2Cloud Offer & SAP2Cloud Transformation